My first job when I joined the Ranch staff in 2010 was to open a guys’ transitional ministry house. When young men graduated from the student program at the Ranch, they could come to the ministry house as a next life step. Living in the house was a wonderful experience, blending fellowship, fun, hard work, and discipleship. Through it all, iron sharpened iron daily. Not only was house life rich; we were also plugged into the Ranch community and able to draw on its tremendous resources, including pastors, counselors, mentors, and teachers who were all available to the guys in the house.
The ministry houses (the Girls’ House had started back in 1999) balanced independence with protection, and opportunity with accountability. If the Ranch is a greenhouse, a ministry house is a garden. The young trees are still carefully tended, and now they’re putting down deeper roots and bearing fruit.
The houses provided Ranch students with a visible, accessible next step. When home is unsafe and options after the Ranch program are limited, the houses fill the void and present an attainable goal. Young people could continue to develop health and strength in a known, safe community, and maintain continuity of counseling and discipleship. Sadly, due to ministry-wide financial challenges, the painful decision was made to close the houses in 2014. This was a great loss.
Then, at our November 2021 Board of Directors meeting, we began to discuss the idea of reopening a girls’ house. We decided our dream was to be able to re-launch in late summer or fall of 2022, as the timing would likely work well for the Ranch family. We discussed the significant challenges of the housing market, which include low inventory and high prices for both sales and rentals. Then we prayed.
If the Ranch is a greenhouse, a ministry house is a garden. The young trees are still carefully tended, and now they're putting down deeper roots and bearing fruit.
Three days later, I shared our dream with the Ranch family and also described the hurdles we faced.
Seven days later, I got a text out of the blue from a former intern who generously offered to sell his house (located a few minutes from the Ranch) for $95,000 below the realtor’s list price. Now, not only do we have an opportunity for housing; this time around, we can own the house, which means the entire model of transitional housing has a new level of long-term sustainability and economic resilience.
There’s more to this story, though. If God had provided housing next summer or fall, I’d have been thrilled. Why now? We’ve been facing another need too: we have a critical staff housing shortage, particularly between now and next summer, when the duplex remodel will likely be completed. Now a family slated for the duplex has a space that fits their needs in the meantime. “Coincidentally,” our projection for the duplex completion lines up with our dream timetable for opening a girls’ house. But there’s still more! We had been brainstorming for weeks what to do in the first half of 2022, as it looks like we may run out of beds in the girls’ dorms. The little apartment vacated by the staff family will work perfectly as overflow dorm space. The puzzle fits beautifully.
Whether or not we see it, God’s provision is always multi-layered. This time we get to see several of those layers. It’s hard for our limited minds to understand, but God knows everything that’s happening. He has all the power necessary to do what’s needed, and He loves us completely. Rejoice with us in what He’s doing!
Nate Boyd, Executive Director